Morning Sickness Survival Tips

by Carrie Lauth

"Just eat a few saltines and you'll be ok".

I don't know about you, but as someone who suffered with prolonged, severe morning sickness (which I affectionately call morning noon and night sickness), when I hear someone say this, I just want to slug them!

If you're suffering with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, you're not alone. Most women experience it to some degree during their first trimester. If you're one of the unfortunate few whose symptoms last longer than the typical 6-12 weeks, I empathize. I've had the same experience with all 4 of my pregnancies. I have learned a few things that helped however, and I hope you can get some relief with these tips.

Getting your blood sugar regulated is priority #1.

One theory about why morning sickness is worse in the morning (and for some women only occurs then) is because when you wake up from sleep, you have low blood sugar. For some pregnant woman, going 8 hours without food is just a bad idea.

You might find it helpful to eat a high protein snack before bed, and even to eat a bite each time you get up in the night to go to the bathroom. (Which in the beginning may be quite frequent!)

Personally, I found that what I did first thing in the morning was of paramount importance. I had to eat a few bites of food while still lying down. So I either put some food on a plate beside my bed or asked my husband bring me a snack first thing in the morning.

Don't jump out of bed. Eat your snack slowly and lie still for a few minutes afterwards. Then slowly get up and immediately go to the kitchen and eat another bite. Again, emphasize protein.

Avoid foods that cause rapid blood sugar shifts.

Fruit juice, sugary snacks, processed cereal (the kind that comes in a box), anything made with white flour, etc...these types of foods cause your blood sugar to rapidly rise then come crashing down, triggering nausea and vomiting. Eat protein foods and whole [grain] foods.

Meat, cheese, yogurt (be careful here -- try plain yogurt with frozen berries mixed in. Most yogurt has way too much sugar in it.), eggs, nuts, nut butters, veggies, and whole grains should be your staples.

Even if eating doesn't appeal to you, coaxing yourself to eat a little bit of a protein food every 2 hours will help prevent vomiting. Don't leave the house without carrying a snack with you.

If drinking water makes you sicker, try these alternatives

It's very important that you stay hydrated. You're going to need extra fluids to support the pregnancy, but many women find that drinking water makes them more nauseated. Some things to try:

  • Smoothies made with fruit, ice and plain yogurt or kefir. The tangy flavor of these two dairy products really hit the spot for me. They also sneak in some extra protein.
  • Water served VERY cold with a squeeze of lemon or lime
  • Carbonated water with a small amount of fruit juice for flavor
  • Weakly brewed iced or hot tea with lemon. The small bit of caffeine won't harm your baby. Something about the bitter tannins in tea may help ease nausea
  • Citrus fruits and melons

Avoid nausea triggers as much as possible.

Your nose is on hyperdrive during early pregnancy! Stinky smells like poopy diapers, kitchen trash, even morning breath may be impossible to totally avoid, but try your best to avoid smelly situations. Have someone else take out the trash. Have hubby change your toddler when he's home. It's the least he can do!

And don't be shy about telling someone who has bad breath, noxious perfume or cigarette smells on them that you're in a delicate condition and need some fresh air. During my pregnancies, my husband had to switch to unscented deodorant and soap, otherwise I couldn't hug him!

If cooking smells make you ill, take a break from your usual garlic and onion specialties. Don't be a martyr. Hubby will understand that you can't make his favorite sausage and peppers for a while.

Prepare meals that won't stink up the kitchen. Green main dish salads with cold, cut up chicken, steak or hard boiled eggs. Sandwiches are good too.

Try Aromatherapy